Catholic Church | Deaths | Discrimination | News | Religion | San Diego

San Diego Catholic Church Denies Funeral to Gay Man

A Catholic Church in San Diego denied a funeral to one of its longtime parishioners because he was gay, 10 News reports:

Sanfilippo Local businessman and devout Catholic John Sanfilippo died last week after struggling with emphysema. Friends said Sanfilippo planned for the funeral mass to be held at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Little Italy, where Sanfilippo had attended for decades. Friends said he even left the church a large sum of money in his will.

This past weekend, Sanfilippo's partner of 28 years and Sanfilippo's family were notified that the church canceled the funeral because Sanfilippo was gay.

And, apparently after outrage and some attention, the church has changed its mind:

In an email, Rodrigo Valdivia, the chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, told 10News, "The Diocesan office was notified about this situation earlier today... Diocesan Authorities have concluded that the funeral as scheduled at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish may take place. Plans for the ritual are yet to be made."

At the cocktail lounge that Sanfilippo owned for 28 years came outrage from friends over what some called a confusing statement from the San Diego diocese.

"All of a sudden, they change their mind and say, 'Well, you know, we may still allow the funeral to be here.' Why? Because they got caught in the process of denying equal rights to people?" asked Neil Thomas, a friend and customer of Sanfilippo's.


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  1. It was the "large sum of money" that changed their minds. An attorney probably advised them that the bequest could be interpreted as a quid pro quo for the funeral and they shouldn't risk a legal challenge.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jun 29, 2011 7:15:54 AM

  2. Opposing marriage is one thing, but a funeral! (of a longtime parishioner) Come on, that is just plain evil. Not that opposing same-sex marriage is any less evil or anything.

    Posted by: Joe | Jun 29, 2011 7:16:59 AM

  3. Money from gays is alright, but nothing else, right? NOT! This sounds horrible and shows once again the true nature of the Catholic Church. I feel sorry for his partner, family, friends.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Jun 29, 2011 7:25:00 AM

  4. And yet they get tax breaks? It's time to put these corrupt organizations on the level. Does anyone know what was added in the New York gay marriage act? The churches apparently received many religious freedom rights. So they are protected against being sued by any gays or lesbians who are refused being married? THEN TAX THEM! They are not representing and serving "all Americans" - IT'S TIME to show them what is fair.

    Their god hasn’t obviously has not...

    Posted by: GRivera | Jun 29, 2011 7:27:42 AM

  5. The Roman Catholic church has every right to discriminate against LGBT people or anyone else for that matter, and they do so all the time, Discrimination laws do not apply to churches exercising their religious function. This is why the Phelps crowd is free to spread their hate. I would generally lump the RC church right in there with the Phelpsites. The tragedy here is that they didn't care enough about this long-time parishioner to know him well enough to discriminate against him while he was still alive. That would have cut-off his weekly donations. I hope his family (and his money) go elsewhere.

    Posted by: alex Parrish | Jun 29, 2011 7:37:30 AM

  6. Not that this will help, but here is a link to the diocese. I've let them know, politely, what I think of their actions. Maybe we can shame them into being human beings.

    Posted by: Reggie | Jun 29, 2011 7:37:37 AM

  7. What's the contact information for the Diocese? Does anyone have the bishop's email address? The email addy for the chancellor?

    Posted by: Dr. George | Jun 29, 2011 7:57:37 AM

  8. ...for all you (religious) gays out about joining the UCC, and leaving Them your this guys money (which they took easily) will be used to PAY off victims of sex abuse,and to fight against LGBT equality.

    Posted by: Gay American | Jun 29, 2011 7:57:37 AM

  9. Yeah Christian charity! High-five!

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Jun 29, 2011 8:05:33 AM

  10. @GAY AMERICAN, Hear, hear!

    I'm not even Christian but I'm a member of the local UCC because of their commitment to, and ACTION for, social justice. I don't care what flag they fly as long as they work to secure justice, fairness and equality for all.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jun 29, 2011 8:11:49 AM

  11. You Catholics are just plain, mentally defective. There can be no other explanation.

    Posted by: Marc C | Jun 29, 2011 8:16:11 AM

  12. All religions are shams and money-making entities that prey on the weak minded. This poor soul devoted much of his life to his church, only to have it turn on him in the hour of need. Hopefully, any gay person who is still throwing his money and time away on an organization that hates his very existence will wake up.

    Posted by: MacroT | Jun 29, 2011 8:35:16 AM

  13. I'm sorry, but if he was a Catholic for all those years he was supporting hate. You dance with the devil, you get burned.

    Posted by: stranded | Jun 29, 2011 8:44:46 AM

  14. Thank you for the money and now go to hell. Oh, and sorry about that thing when you were a kid at camp and that really friendly priest. No hard feelings? Are we cool? BFFs!

    Posted by: Beef and Fur | Jun 29, 2011 8:51:50 AM

  15. You mean there are still Catholics around, and he was one of them?
    When does a planet grow up?

    Posted by: uffda | Jun 29, 2011 9:00:16 AM

  16. When are gay Catholics going to realize their church does not like them? The Papists can claim all they want that they hate the sin (homo sex) but love the sinner (homos). But, in reality, it's all BS on their part. I'm sure this parishoner's financial gift to the church helped change their mind regarding his funeral mass. How despicable! Wake up, folks, and realize how your church views you and yours. If you've got money to bequeath, why not do so to a non-discriminatory group or organization that'll really help people in need?

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Jun 29, 2011 9:01:23 AM

  17. Friendly Reminder...Do not spend or DONATE money to organizations that actively act AGAINST YOU. Like the Catholic Church. TARGET (and now Zeller's if you are Canadian), Chik Fil-A. Carls Jr. Hardees, Cracker Barrel. It helps you by not spending your money there and it helps me and everyone else here too.

    Posted by: Jeff | Jun 29, 2011 9:08:48 AM

  18. It's the church that has to change, not the Catholic religion. Yes you can be gay and Catholic, and many Catholics are accepting of gay parishioners. It's just a matter of time before love wins out.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jun 29, 2011 9:11:11 AM

  19. A Jack M: Amen.

    Posted by: Really? | Jun 29, 2011 9:20:08 AM

  20. I do not presume to know about the life of this deceased gentleman so I will not make conclusions about him, but churches have the right to restrict their actions based on religious belief and dogma. For instance, if someone was openly, defiantly living a life contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the New Testament SCripture and did not confess Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God, it makes sense to disqualify such a person from being funeralized at a Christian Church that is faithful to Christ. In contrast, a celibate person gay or straight who professed faith in Christ should not be denied a funeral in a Christian church. At any rate, churches have the right to decline people who organizations from using their facilities who did not demonstrate faith in Jesus Christ. It happens all the time.

    Posted by: Javier | Jun 29, 2011 9:25:48 AM

  21. Just because the Church has the "right" to discriminate, doesn't MAKE IT RIGHT. And people have the right, and responsibility, to point that out and call them on it.

    Posted by: mytwocents | Jun 29, 2011 9:51:12 AM

  22. @javier if they don't want to bury him why would they want his money? it comes from a gay man. the church should then refuse to take the money and show they believe their principle, but alas they will do what they do best take the money and then preach their hate. that is what they believe christian charity is about.

    Posted by: walter | Jun 29, 2011 9:51:40 AM

  23. no, because they want his money.

    Posted by: Sean | Jun 29, 2011 9:57:15 AM

  24. Well it's a good thing that they'll at least allow their child raping priests to be buried with their services and on their grounds.

    I mean, come on--the Catholic Church has to stand for SOMEthing.

    Posted by: luminum | Jun 29, 2011 10:06:36 AM

  25. Gays trying to blend into a conservative world...we gotta long way to go and looks like you can't buy your way in. Too bad, Chris Barron.

    Posted by: MrJ | Jun 29, 2011 10:08:05 AM

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